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Insights from California’s First Health Center-Led Medicare ACO

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As the first and only health center-led Medicare Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) in California, and one of a growing number of provider-led safety-net ACOs nationwide, Redwood Community Care Organization (RCCO) is an early foray into accountable care in the safety net.

ACOs represent a transformation that is considered an advanced value-based payment and care model that rewards providers for cost and quality outcomes of their patients and increasingly requires providers to accept downside risk. Despite not earning shared savings to date, RCCO members have used this experience to embrace learnings related to transforming both care and payment. All participating health centers have found value in the ACO as a “learning lab” in value-based care. As the push toward value-based payment continues, RCCO’s early adoption of the ACO model and subsequent five years of experience can offer California and national health centers valuable insights as they increasingly incorporate care management and coordination for high-risk members into their practices and pursue a variety of value-based payment arrangements with payers.

We are grateful to Blue Shield Foundation of California and the California Health Care Foundation for their generous support of this research.

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